Carol: Deviance Is Not So Devious

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s influential novel, ‘The Price Of Salt’, Carol follows two very different women who find themselves entangled in an unexpected love affair in New York City during the 1950s. Society of the time was loathsome of homosexuals and to be one, was still a criminal offense. It was against conventional norms to be attracted to someone of the same-sex. This was still a very Conservative society and homosexuality was tabooed. 1950s ideologies challenged their relationship deeming it unnatural and not proper. This is an honest story that shows us as an audience how far the human heart is willing to go. It pushes the heart to the limit through great resilience and trauma, but also shows us how far two people in love are willing to go for their own happiness.

A twenty-something woman called Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) is a store assistant in an upmarket department store in Manhattan. She dreams of being more than what she is. She has aspirations, goals and thinks life is more than paying bills and working. She wants more out of life. She wants to live and not endure. Then she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett). A seductress, rich, upper class and a truly enchanting woman. She’s trapped in a loveless yet convenient marriage with Harge (Kyle Chandler). A marriage that was concocted for position and social standing, not for love. Even as recently as the 1950s, these marriages still occurred. The coincidence of their first encounter is cast into the shadows as their connection becomes more passionate and enigmatic. Carol loosens her nuptial bonds yet Harge begins to question her parental abilities of their daughter as her involvement with Therese increases and her close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) comes into the limelight due to the spidery tactics of Harge when he hires a PI (Cory Michael Smith).

Carol (Blanchett) & Therese (Mara) at lunch

Carol (Blanchett) & Therese (Mara) at lunch

From the get go, the movie captured my soul. It’s make up is so basic and simple. No SFX but wonderful costume design and the general mis-en-scene has to be commended. Each shot is a wonder to look at. It’s truly magical. Sometimes, I felt like it was found-footage from the time but at the same time I knew it wasn’t. I had been thrust into this era. I’m a big fan of the period genre in film as well as in television. Carol is a grand addition to the genre and truly surprised me. It’s picturesque and beautiful. This is before the story truly begins. It’s magical and I believe this film is in the running to win Best Picture. It’s a film for old women or people who have a cultural capital when it comes to film. If you’re looking for guns and car chases, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a film pushed along by an intriguing plot then this is your kind of film. This is a movie pushed along by story and characters, not guns, car chases and big explosions.

I’m a big fan of Australian actress, Cate Blanchett (LOTR, The Hobbit, Elizabeth). She’s truly a force to be reckoned with, and a formidable talent. In this role, she’s serious, witty, intelligent and passionate; especially when she and Mara decide to get the kit off in that one steamy scene. She a throwback to the Hollywood legends in this movie. She’s a throwback to Hollywood’s Golden Age. She reminds me of silver screen legends like Vera Miles (The Wrong Man), Grace Kelly (Rear Window), Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Joan Fontaine (Rebecca) who are famous for starring in many Hitchcock movies. I’d love to see Cate Blanchett to in a biopic as Grace Kelly. This a groundbreaking, career defining performance by Blanchett. Another awesome performance to add to her glittering career and I wouldn’t be surprised if she picks up the Best Actress nomination from the Academy and BAFTA.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sister to Kate Mara (House Of Cards), Rooney Mara (Pan) is a fresh face to me. I haven’t really seen anything with her in except for The Social Network and Pan. Her career is only just beginning and her performance as Therese was tear jerking and emotional, just like Blanchett’s. Therese is a young woman stepping out of her door going out into the world. She wants to be somebody; a photographer, and she’s following her dreams. From the magical world of Neverland, she flew into this role with magic and she delivers a role that is mystical and pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. She has the potential to be something great. She is in this new generation of actor that are emerging. She has genuinely shocked me with her performance because I wasn’t expecting a groundbreaking performance from someone who had just given a mediocre performance as Tiger Lily in Pan.

In conclusion, a great romantic tale that rips apart the backward ideologies of 1950s America. Why shouldn’t you be allowed to love someone of the same-sex? This is a story about society’s ideologies and it’s still a controversial topic to this day. Great performance from Mara and Blanchett, stunning cinematography and awesome direction from Haynes. I felt like I was in the Hollywood’s Golden Age and I hope that Blanchett does more of the period genre in the future. It suits her.

It was like magic.